Japan beats Indonesia 3-1 to fight against China for Sudirman Cup title

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Top-ranked Japan edged out Indonesia 3-1 on Saturday evening and will chase for its first title of the 30-year-old Sudirman Cup.

Japan, who earlier made the final only once in 2015, will play the final against 10-time winner China again on Sunday.

In the opening men's doubles, top-ranked Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamulio scored the first point for Indonesia as they edged over world No. 2 Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda 21-14, 21-18.

"Of course we are happy to score the point and I hope our other players can play to their best," said Sukamulio. As for the 2020 Olympics, Gideon replied that "it's quite away from Tokyo Olympics, but we will do our best in everything."

Japan then tied the score 1-1 in the women's singles with Akane Yamaguchi, the winner of Badminton Asia Championships 2019, defeating 16th-ranked Gregoria Mariska Tunjung 21-13, 21-13.

In the men's singles, world No.1 Kento Momota downed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 21-17, 21-19 to help Japan overtake the lead 2-1.

"I think the match was really tough, and today he played better than me. In the second game at the score 16-16 he launched more attacks and before he mainly defended," said Ginting.

"Ginting is a great shuttler and tough to handle. During the last period of the match, I played more relaxed and took the chance to win," said Momota.

During the women's doubles, Rio 2016 Olympic winners Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara knocked down world's No.5 Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu 21-15, 21-17, sealing the semifinal victory for Japan.

En route to the final, Japan defeated Russia 3-2 and downed Thailand 4-1 in the group stage before eliminating Malaysia 3-0 in the last eight.

"China has perfect performances in the previous matches. I think tomorrow's final will be a tough fight, so we'll give our best and fight for our first title of Sudirman Cup," Japan's head coach Park Joo-bong said.

Earlier Saturday afternoon, China crushed Thailand 3-0, advancing to the final for the 13th straight time.

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